pineapple sage

Looking for a sweet-smelling addition to your spring garden? Try pineapple sage. It blooms late summer into the fall. the long stalks produce gorgeous crimson flowers. Bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies love this perennial that also doubles as an annual in certain zones.

pineapple sage

Image credit:


run, grunion, run


Image credit:

If it’s March, it’s grunion time up and down the Southern California coastline. What are grunion? To put it bluntly, they are rather weird-looking silvery fish that swim ashore to spawn. It’s a big deal here in SoCal. To watch this romance blossom, you’ll have to set aside an evening somewhere between March and August and pick a beach anywhere from Malibu to Crystal Cove, or San Pedro to La Jolla. The sandier the beach, the better. Grunion don’t like gravel. Make sure it’s high tide because these little critters bring their sexy bods on shore by the thousands and wriggle around until the female settles down into the sand, tail first to lay her eggs. The males swagger over to curl themselves around the females and release milt that fertilizes the eggs. The afterglow doesn’t last very long, (long enough for the eggs to incubate though) before the grunion rely on the waves to carry them back out to sea where they swim off and have lots of little grunion. According to the experts at the Birch Aquarium grunion runs are triggered by high tides during new and full moon phases, every spring and summer.

If you go to watch, don’t wreck the mood, observe from a distance and let nature take its course. During April and May the grunion runs are closed, meaning its okay to watch but no catching. June through August it’s okay to catch with your hands but you are not permitted to use a scooping device. Don’t forget you’ll need a license if you intend to take away any catch at all.


Image credit: Cabrillo Marine Aquarium

A side note:  Halibut is especially plentiful during these months and a lot more tasty than grunion. IMO. If you want more info on best guesses as to when the grunion are at peak, check the website. Remember these dates and times aren’t carved in stone, so don’t expect these marine critters to perform on demand.


Coyote Wells Mystery series delivers for fans of the genre

Murder with a side of chocolate.

The 2nd book, Shadow Canyon, keeps readers coming back to Coyote Wells.

Look for it February 27th

Murder with a side of chocolate

Exhausted after the Sun Bringer Festival, Gemma Channing and her ex, Lando Bonner, are hanging out at the beach, trying to recover from the three-day event when her longtime nemesis is found dead on the dunes. As rumors grow about Mallory’s demise, many in Coyote Wells feel like Gemma is responsible.

Determined to find out who did it, Gemma goes into overdrive to find the real killer. With the help of Lando and her friends, they dig deeper into Mallory’s past, hoping to uncover all of her secrets. But they get more than they bargained for when the tables turn. The new theory brings a longtime mystery to the forefront, one that’s been hanging around for three decades…unsolved. What does it mean for the people in Coyote Wells when the secret’s uncovered? And will Gemma be able to figure things out before anyone else dies?

summer lavender

Does anything smell better than a summer stroll through lavender? It’s taken a learning curve for me to grow it—bright sunlight and the right kind of soil. It likes its own space, Lavenderdoesn’t like to be crowded into a pot or a flower bed. I guess you could say it doesn’t like to share. But what I’ve discovered is to prune, prune, prune. Deadhead all the brown stuff and do it quickly, otherwise the part that’s just bloomed and wilted will take over your entire plant(s). As for the soil, I was told to add in limestone or sand to let it drain, drain, drain. So don’t spend years making the same mistakes I made. With a little research you can come up with the right mix to grow lavender. Just remember it doesn’t like to be neglected. But when it blooms, the fragrance is well worth the fuss. And you can’t beat the purple color that invariably brightens up a spot where white daisies and hydrangeas thrive. If you’re hesitant to grow lavender, take the plunge. What used to be a failure in the garden, is now a summer staple for me. I love the aroma. For that alone, I make the extra effort.

summer + nature = redwoods


No one has ever successfully painted or photographed a redwood tree. The feeling they produce is not transferable. From them comes silence and awe.

~ John Steinbeck

Summer along the California coast is inspirational, nothing more so than the Redwood National Forest, enjoying it so much I’m making it a feature in the next series.

#5 Skye Cree: Truth in the Bones

Skye Cree is after a madman like no other. He’s cunning, smart, dangerous, a serial killer who preys on entire families. He’s gone undetected for five years until an analytical nerd stumbles on a pattern of murders across the U.S. with no apparent connections.

Slowly Skye begins to connect the dots. But with lives at stake, will she be able to figure out the link in time to catch this psychopath before he adds more victims to his tally? Or will she get outfoxed and jeopardize everything she loves one last time? Everything hinges on trying to end the reign of a serial killer who has nothing to lose. Will Skye take him down and find justice for the families or has she met her match?